R.I. steps closer to free tuition

A photo on Gov. Gina Raimondo's Twitter feed this month to which she responded "I'm working on it, guys! Loved seeing this rock today at Narragansett High School—this is why I'm fighting for #RIpromise." (Photo: Office of Gov. Gina Raimondo)

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is thanking the state House of Representatives for passing a $9.2 billion budget plan she says “protects our priorities.”

The Democratic governor says the budget approved by the House on Thursday night would make Rhode Island the fourth state after Oregon, Tennessee and Nevada to offer “tuition-free community college for every high school graduate.”

Her list excludes states with free college tuition programs that have means tests or are merit-based scholarships.

The Democratic-controlled House voted 64-11 to pass a budget plan that includes a pilot program paying for two years of tuition for in-state students at the Community College of Rhode Island. It’s a scaled-back version of a more expansive proposal championed by Raimondo earlier this year.

The budget plan now awaits state Senate approval.

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